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Instant Immersion: French, Levels 1,2 and 3

Platform : Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS X
2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

List Price: CDN$ 49.99
Price: CDN$ 46.34
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Only 6 left in stock - order soon.
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  • Learn basic vocabulary and everyday phrases in no time!
  • Practice with virtual flashcards, play games and use the record-and-playback feature to practice pronunciation
  • Also includes a printable picture dictionary
7 new from CDN$ 46.34 1 open box from CDN$ 50.55


System Requirements

  • Platform:    Windows 7 / Vista / XP, Mac OS X
  • Media: DVD-ROM
  • Item Quantity: 1

Product Details

  • Item Weight: 227 g
  • ASIN: B004M3EL3S
  • Release Date: July 13 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #760 in Software (See Top 100 in Software)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

The quickest way to learn. Instant Immersion uses natural image-association techniques to help you learn as easily as you learned your first language. With Instant Immersion, you will have more fun, save money and reach your goals faster! You Will Be Able To: Build your vocabulary, Get around with confidence, Converse with ease, Understand everyday language, Perfect your pronunciation, Achieve your goals! Instant Immersion Levels 1, 2 & 3 Whether you are learning a new language for school, work or your next vacation, Instant Immersion's fun and effective exercises, interactive activities and challenging quizzes will help you achieve language fluency in less time than other language systems. You will think, read and speak your new language with ease.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa3947078) out of 5 stars 114 reviews
253 of 271 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e3dc6cc) out of 5 stars So-so for visitors to France. Not for serious French students. May 26 2011
By Unity Dienes - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In a nutshell, Instant Immersion French is not bad for the price if you are not serious about learning French. If you want to dabble, learn some words, see if a child will hold an interest in a language, or very cheaply get your feet wet before a trip to France, the lower price tag for this compared to Rosetta Stone may well make this a good purchase for you if you are on a budget. If you are truly hoping to learn French or need high school credit (i.e. homeschoolers), this is not a good choice.

The good.

The game format is appealing, especially to younger learners. Learners need to accumulate points earned by performance at various learning games, and seeing the number go up with play is motivational.

The accent used by the speakers is authentic and standard Parisian French.

The program allows for multiple user accounts. This is important because each user's progress can be tracked independently.

The software uses multiple modes to teach the material---flashcards, search-and-find games, image-selection games. Honestly, although the look and feel is different that Rosetta Stone, the gist is the same. They say a word, and you select the appropriate picture, unless you are in tutorial mode in which case they just tell you. It's not an awful way to learn some vocabulary and phrases (but don't expect to achieve any amount of fluency). This is like an interactive Berlitz guide--it is not like taking a real French class.

By the third level, some of the phrases/situations are reasonably challenging. There is a direction finding game where a car and a maze is on screen, and a speaker gives directions to find something. You have to click on the square where you would end up if you followed the directions. That would be great practice for someone planning to travel to France, since the examples given are complex and involve several different cues (i.e., go straight to the end of the road, then left, then it's the third street on the right next to the clock.) Still, someone who has completed the entire program (all three levels) would not as a result have acquired any measure of fluency. But they would know a lot of words and be able to understand some simple French, possibly even enough to get along for a week or two in France.

The Interactive DVD is ok. It's less game-oriented than the software, and was straightforward teaching and quizzing. I liked that it has multiple choice answers that include testing on spelling, although I'm not sure how important it is for a visitor to France to be able to spell "allergie alimentaire" [food allergy] correctly. In a quick survey of the DVD, I encountered one spelling error "qu'y a t-il [sic]..." which is hardly earth-shattering but shows a lack of editing.

The bad.

The choice of words taught is bizarre. For example, in the first level the words for "stockpot," "octopus," "pin," and "hippopotomus" are among the first 50 words taught. Seriously? And the fact that "cassette" is in the list also shows that the fundamentals of the program haven't been updated since the cassette tape went the way of the 8-track. I was also surprised to see a fairly non-authentic vocabulary choice: as every beginning French student knows, the word for "pen" is simply "un stylo," but this program gives the more complex phrase "un stylo à encre" (essentially, "an ink-pen"). It's not wrong per se, but it's definitely not the way pens are usually referred to.

The program is not specific to French needs. They wrote the program and then dubbed it into French (and a bunch of other languages). Sometimes that causes oddities. For example, corn is not generally eaten in France. It's mostly considered a food for animals. So the fact that "an ear of corn" is one of the first vocabulary words taught is rather misguided, as it is a rarely used word in France. Similarly, I'm not sure that "chopsticks" needs to be on someone's must-know list for travel to Paris. Also, there is a video image of a man and woman on some screens, and it's really annoying to see their mouths widely and smilingly exclaiming, "Yes!" when the word I hear is "Oui!" It's like a spoof of one of those badly dubbed Japanese movies.

For a program that works by showing pictures matched with a spoken word, many of the pictures are unclear. Watching my son try out the program, he was confused by many of the pictures and couldn't figure out what he was supposed to be learning. "Is that ice or sugar?" he asked of a picture full of little white cubes. Similarly, we were both baffled by a picture that looked like an onion but turned out to be a melon, and the picture of the airplane looked for all the world like a space shuttle. As far as the pictures that are supposed to represent "Where is the suitcase?"....well, forget it. I have no idea how someone who doesn't already know French would figure out what they are supposed to represent.

The CD-ROM game "Who is Oscar Lake?" did not work for me either on my Windows or Mac system. It appeared to load but then I couldn't get anything to happen no matter what I clicked. The instructions supplied with the game are virtually useless; they just say "use your television and phone a lot" and "explore everything." The loading screen shows a copyright of 1996; I think this is a really old game that they tried to update to work on modern systems. Apparently they failed.

The audio CD only works on an MP3 player, so if you want to listen in your car you need to make sure your car can play off your ipod. You can't just pop the CD into your car CD player and expect it to work. Also, it's super boring. It is a list of words and phrases to imitate at the easier levels, and long conversations to try to understand at the upper levels. It's not well done, as in, say, the Pimsleur CDs which are outstanding and well worth the money. I would not recommend the CD.

The absurd.

In its competition with Rosetta Stone (RS), this product makes some exaggerated claims. In a comparison chart on the back of the packaging, Instant Immersion claims to have sold more units, have more levels, and have more audio content than RS. But a look at the fine print shows that they are excluding the upper 3 levels of the RS French program from the comparison as well as all RS units sold directly by rosettastone.com. So really all Instant Immersion has over RS is a much lower price tag, a printable picture dictionary, an interactive DVD, and a game. The price tag alone may sell you on Instant Immersion (and I think that's not a bad choice) but it's a ridiculous claim for them to say that they offer significantly more language learning than RS. No way.

Basically, this is a moderately fun program for learning some elementary French, and the price is right. I give it 3 stars because I think it pretty much does well what it sets out to do, except for some oddities mentioned above. Just don't expect too much out of it.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e3de1b0) out of 5 stars Good basic language software Jan. 3 2012
By Jim Obst - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
My wife has only used the program a couple times so far, but is picking up on the basics pretty quickly. The interface is simple, but borders a little on primitive. More pop-up guidance might help. As a native speaker, I noticed a couple peculiar phrases that weren't exactly right nor in common usage. I'd call it a very minor defect.
Compared to some of the pricier language software (I'm talking to you R'etta Stone), it packs in a very similar feature set. I think the pricier ones may have a slightly more polished interface, more video or give you a little more in terms of culture. We'll see as she dives deeper into the lessons.
Other than some minor niggling, this software is in the same league as the big-buck ones. It's certainly worth the money and gives you more bang for the buck, in my opinion.
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e3de468) out of 5 stars Not What I Hoped It Would Be May 26 2011
By Fairbanks Reader - Bonnie Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I was very excited to get this Instant Immersion French Levels 1, 2 & 3 as a Vine choice. I studied French in high school and college and thought this would be a way to freshen up my skills and prepare for a visit to France. Boy, was I ever wrong. The program is not organized and there is no cohesiveness to the studies. I've used Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur for studying Swahili and they both are far more superb than this program in organization, graphics, and material. Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone teach language in context and proceed from what was just learned. Instant Immersion French Levels 1, 2 & 3 is divided into vocabulary, games and sentences on a variety of topics. The problem is that each part of the program is separate and does not build upon what was just taught previously. Thus, in the vocabulary section, the words are isolated. You might have the word 'ant' followed by the word 'toilet'. I found that I got frustrated quite quickly. Also, on one of the dvd's, there are no graphics. For the money, Pimsleur is the best bet. For the comprehensiveness, I'd go with Rosetta Stone though it is quite pricey. I don't think any user of this program will get more than some vocabulary words which will be of little use overall. This is certainly not a program to learn the language.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e3de5c4) out of 5 stars Hardly Immersive But Still Useful As A Supplemental Resource Oct. 22 2011
By MyBeesWax - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I started out with Instant Immersion French knowing only the most rudimentary of French greetings such as "bonjour," "merci," and "au revoir." After devoting 8 weeks (10-12 hours per week) to the package and completing all the lessons, I am able to converse in the language no more than when I started out with learning it -- not quite what I had expected considering the package is supposed to be "immersive" and touted as a much cheaper alternative to Rosetta Stone.

The two main issues I have with Instant Immersion French involve the format of instruction and phonetics.

First, let's talk about the format of instruction. Instant Immersion French will teach you basic words, phrases, and sentences. However, it makes no attempt to explain grammar, parts of speech, and sentence structure. The package is set up for learning French through rote memorization only.

Take for an example, the question and answer sentences: "Where is nearest gas station? Take a left on the next street; it's on the right hand side." The sentences are first spoken in English, and then in French: "Ou est la pompe a essence la plus proche? "Tournez a la premiere a gauche, c'est juste sur votre droite."

With repeated exposure to other question-answer examples, I can make an inference that "où est la" means "where is the" and "tournez" means "turn," but I have no idea what "votre" or "pompe" mean. (Turns out "votre" means "your" and "pompe" means "pump." Thanks Google.)

Still, this package is useful for picking up some elementary French you will most likely need to learn if you're planning a trip to France.

Another beef -- phonetics. The native French speakers in the video do not enunciate. I had real trouble picking out the pronunciation of most of the words. Instant Immersion French should at least have provided a phonetics module that teaches the pronunciation of consonants and vowels, especially those that are peculiar to French. It does teach the pronunciation of the French alphabet, but that's about it.

Many consonants in French (e.g. t, c, v, l, p, r) are pronounced differently from their English counterparts. P, for example, is pronounced like how "p" is pronounced in Spanish. R, l, and v all have pronunciations unique to French. Ditto for vowels (e.g. o and u). The hardest one for me is that confounded gutteral r!

If you do plan on getting Instant Immersion French, you will need supplemental resources that will help you work on pronunciation. There is actually a wealth of online resources that can help you with that. My favorites are Forvo, Google Translate, and you tube (plug in t59arCR20Ms on you tube to see an example). I make an extra effort to pronounce each word correctly because there is nothing quite as jarring to my linguistic sensibilities as an Anglicized pronunciation of French (ugh!).

---
The long and the short of it is Instant Immersion French may help you learn a few of words, phrases, and sentences, but it lacks a pedagogical structure for helping you achieve any level of conversational proficiency. I would recommend it only as a supplemental resource for learning French, but not as a standalone product. Avez-apprentissage amusant français. Bonne chance!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e3de6b4) out of 5 stars poorly put together, save for rosetta stone Nov. 22 2011
By ec - Published on Amazon.com
I have found it very frustrating, from trying to match sentences to the corresponding pictures possibly drawn by children... seriously its like playing pictionary. The first task is to figure out what the picture is trying to represent. The first disk was OK but one of the demonstators spoke so quickly that I could not understand him, the second was like it was from a different system, and even needed different software to run it. The second was not user friendly, you had to click back and forth to advance to the next word, then to get it to speak the word. I did very well in high school French and am usually good with languages, this was no help... actually very irritating to use. I was so irritated that I had to keep clicking away, that I was not concentrating on learning the language. The content could not possibly take you to a conversational level. For $50 I can ask where to get a taxi, or call for an ambulance, and of course where is the bathroom.... wait let me see if I can draw a picture of that . I should have saved the $50 to put toward Rosetta Stone.